Without question, my favorite detective is the annoyingly loveable Lt. Columbo. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover- and you certainly can’t judge a detective by their fumbling and stammering in a wrinkled trench coat.
I love murder mysteries in any form. I can watch hours of the benign television series Murder, She Wrote. Can’t turn the pages fast enough thru any Agatha Chrisite book with Poirot or Miss Marple. I even developed quite a crush on Jeremy Brett while watching him portray Sherlock Holmes on the PBS Mysteries series. All of them fantastic and iconic detectives or detective-type characters, but my allegiance is with the unsuspected brilliance Lt. Columbo.
The majority of mysteries take us along with a detective as they attempt to make heads and tails of a crime. We stumble upon clues as they do, we listen as they deduct and hold our breath as they snoop where they shouldn’t be, but Lt. Columbo is different.
The audience sees the crime from the beginning. We know who the guilty party is and how it happened. The true mystery is how long will it take Lt. Columbo to manipulate them into revealing themselves and he does it with precision. He is so off-putting that he quickly gets under a guilty mans (or woman’s) skin. His manner is intentional and uses it to slowly chip away at an almost always over-confidant “bad guy”. The result is the inevitable slip-up and then “case-closed”.